12.20.2010

Twinkilocks and the Three Bears CH3...Finally


*Blogger`s note: Since it has been three years since the last installment of Twinkilocks, don`t hesitate to review Chapter 1 or Chapter 2 to refresh yourself about just what the hell has gone on before Chapter 3. If you still remember, kudos to you. Even I had to go back, read and take notes... Enjoy!


Twinkilocks, still jaded from his stint on Catastrophe Cruises, slowly sauntered into Hole. Despite the gaudy exterior decorated with what seemed like bolt after bolt of seafoam organza, the interior of the club was quite the contrast. After paying the $20 cover to what seemed like a vagrant and belligerent pre-op tranny and receiving a slimy and overused blacklight handstamp, Twinkilocks entered what appeared to a veritable den of filth and sin. The walls, painted over black and covered with Hefty trash bags where the paint had failed to take on top of past stains, dripped from various spots along the entranceway; all of the stains at a curiously consistent level equal to that of a man`s waist. Behind the testy tranny was pasted, without any glue or tape it seemed, a 6-foot tall, 4-foot wide poster advertising the evening`s themed party, "Squirm".




"Really?" Twinkilocks thought. "They named the party `Squirm`?. Doesn`t that skeeve anyone else out?" As he glanced around the dimly lit unfinished basement of a club, no one looked the least bit skeeved out. In fact, most of the customers in attendance at Hole seemed to be more of the kind who usually do the skeeving. However, despite his bad hand in choice pickings this evening, Twinkilocks stayed positive, knowing one thing that he could do to make tonight better, even if only a bit. He dashed past the tranny and into the bathroom with his carry-on bag in order to clear the runway for any future takeoffs.

Once locked safely inside the crudely tagged bathroom stall, he exhaled deeply in despair and in doing so, smudged his post-vacance cashmere sweater on a recently rendered section of a mens` room masterpiece. Underneath an illegible bubble lettered street name was an amateur sketch of two hairy testicles. No penis nor legs nor abdomen were even barely present. Just two bewhiskered balls still shiny wet after being freed from their Sharpie prison. "Ugh! How am I ever going to find a perfect daddy mentor with my cashmere looking like an elementary school desktop?! Thank Cher for cruise options!"

Twinkilocks busied himself for the next 30 minutes, trying on outfit after outfit of different combinations of tops, bottoms, shoes and shawls, finding just the right combination and walking the narrow line between St. Tropez and So Trashay. After consulting with hair & make-up as well for finishing touches, he burst out of the mens` room with restored confidence and a bounce in his step, although the bounce was provided by a bump off of the guy`s fist who was tying a belt around his forearm at the mirror.

"This party doesn`t look so bad afterall," Twinkilocks thought to himself as he made his way confidently up to the bar. He flashed his already fading handstamp at the bartender who just grunted in what Twinkilocksk perceived to be an interrogative fashion. "I`ll have a Santa`s Little Helper. On the rocks, hold the helper." The bartender turned away, leaving Twinkilocks pretty impressed that he wasn`t asked what the drink was made of like usual. "This place must be pretty with it. This guy gets a tip!" The bartender returned after a few moments and dropped a burboun, straight up, in front of Twinkilocks. Before he could make a proper complaint though, Twinkilocks was shoved roughly from behind, spilling his unwanted libation all over the bar.

"Lo siento, Papito. Lemme buy you anotha drink, OK? Que quieres?" As Twinkilocks slowly turned around to glare at his assailant, he was surprisingly greeted by the sweet smell of chorizo in the air. His gaze finally landed on a young but legal latino boy with a tight bubble butt and straight, shoulder-length raven black hair pulled into a slick geisha knot with a livestrong band.

"I`m sorry? If you`re trying to call me a queer, at least pronounce it correctly, you mess."

"Whoah, whoah, whoah chico. I said I was soree, OK? Jew know I was tha guy that pusht you intoda bar so I just wantit to say soree, OK? Fuckeen relax, man."

"Oh, my god. I`m sorry. I thought you were gonna get all hate crimey on me. I`m sorry. I really am. I`ve just had a bad day is all. Just forget about it. I`m sorry." Twinkilocks turned to the bar to take another stab at Santa`s Little Helper. But before he could open his mouth he heard a shout from behind him.

"Lemme get dos Cuba Libres y dos chupitos de tequila! OK, Marcy?" The bartender nodded and Twinkilocks wondered when Marcy had become a unisex name.

"I got you, chico. You look all glammed up for dis party so da leest I can do fo you is buy you a drink, OK?" Rico Suave Jr. slammed a twenty down on the bar and passed the shot and Cuba Libre to Twinkilocks. "Repeat after me, blanquito. SA - LUD."

"Salad!" Twinkilocks said thankfully and clinked glasses with Suave.

"My name`s Javier. Whatchu lookeen for tonight, baby? You here to squirm like me?"

"Thanks for the drink, Javier. I`m Twinkilocks, but my friends call me Twinkilocks. I`m actually looking for someone special and I don`t even know what squirm refers to so..."

"Donchu even worry bout it, baby. I show you how I work, OK?"

"How you work? No, you don`t even look like you have papers. I`m just gonna..."

Javier put both of their drinks onto the bar and dragged Twinkilocks onto the dance floor. Without even a hint of feigning to dance like a normal person at the start, Javier immediately squatted with his ass only 3 centimeters from the floor, demonstrating his obvious talent for the Dominican Bottle Dance. "Dis is how I pay my rent, papi. Lemme teach you, OK?"

Twinkilocks, who was actually in the mood to dance, was sourly disappointed when Javier deftly rolled the front of his t-shirt over and behind his head to reveal a glistening salsa six-pack. Despite how much Twinkilocks enjoyed a well-toned torso he couldn`t help how scandalous this was all making him feel. He doesn`t even know this man! People are watching him from the bar! He still doesn`t even know what squirm means!

"Ok, please stop. That`s enough for me. You seem really good at what you do but I just don`t want to do whatever that is."

"Whas wrong, baby? Dees dance is gonna be fo free. You don`t gotsta pay. I`m, how do you say, `off the watch`, today, you know?"

"No! First of all, the phrase is `off the clock`, you stupid prostitute and second, where the fuck do you even work?"

"Hey!" Javier pulled his shirt back down and pulled him back to the bar. "I said you don hafto pay. Just enjoy yourselves, OK? If chu really wanna know, I work at Boys` Room. Itsa latino club over on 28th. I dance there sometimes. Well I don really dance. I just play with my Jose Cuervo on stage and cum on the customer`s tortilla chips. Its super racist and my mother says she don like me waste my chupacabra but it pays super good so whatever."

Twinkilocks had taken Spanish in high school and was pretty sure that chupacabra did not mean semen. Could Javier be playing me? he worried.

"Ok Evita. I`m done with this conversation. Half of the shit that`s coming out of your mouth yo no creo and you are definitely not experienced enough in the ways of the gay. I will not be lured into your putrid world of prostitution and spanglish euphamisms. I don`t care how hip it is to mix languages. I will NOT be lied to by someone who can`t even make their subjects and verbs match. Peace, Shakira!"

With Javier`s jaw successfully dropped, Twinkilocks stomped away as rhythmically and angrily as he could in his man-pumps. However, as we all learn in those first fitful yet formative moments of a gay-club-stomp-away, one must always watch where one is stomping. Sadly, our young Twinkilocks, as wet behind the proverbial ears as he was, stomped right towards the stairway leading to the basement level of Astroglide rooms, the gays` take on a champagne room.

Twinkilocks` fabulously fashioned toe had just missed its next step and as he realized his grave mistake, he began to plummet headfirst down the dark stairway to the basement brothel below. Luckily for him, he landed softly and safely in the strongest arms he had ever felt in his brief time on earth. With a dainty exhale of "tuckered out-ness", Twinkilocks looked up into his savior`s eyes. They were a piercing ocean blue, bordered above by thick golden locks and below by a strong, chiseled Roman yet upturned nose and a bronze, sun-kissed complexion. Had Twinkilocks known Fabio was gay, he would`ve started reading trashy supermarket romances back in grade school.

"Glad you could drop in," the colossal piece of man-meat said in a huskily sensitive voice. Twinkilocks winced at the horrible 90s pun but decided to cut this demigod a freebie for saving his little life.

Thor carried him to the top of the stairway and set him down on a nearby sofa where they chatted for a bit. Twinkilocks` dreamboat was named Luke and he was a volunteer firefighter on the weekends which explained his immaculate physique. He had originally trained as a firefighter down south during his college years when he had been attending USC. His unit had been a special task force entrusted with putting out and dismantling any and all burning crucifixes, which made for a very busy workday, in the tri-county area.

"So, Luke...what were you doing downstairs anyway? You weren`t participating in an orgy or anything were you?"

"No, not at all. I`m not into that scene anymore."

"Oh, thank Cher. Cuz I was worried you were like a leather daddy or something into crazy bondage parties. Good, good. So it seems like you and me would be a perfect fit. Maybe you could teach me a bit about what it`s like being gay in this crazy, mad world?"

"That`s the thing, Twinkilocks. I`m not really gay. Well not anymore at least."

"What?! Then why the hell are you even here? You know you`re at a Manhunt party, right?"

"Of course I know that. You see, I`m an ex-gay, Twinkilocks. Down in South Carolina, one of my co-workers noticed the path of self-destruction on which I had mistakenly set myself. And so he introduced me to the Church of Saturday Taints and through several retreats, lots of therapy and a partial lobotomy, I`m now a happy and mostly healthy practicing member of the Christian right. I want to lend you some literature on..."

Luke was speaking but the words didn`t make sense anymore. Twinkilocks` world had been shattered. Just when he thought he had finally found the ideal man, the adonis in every boy`s first wet dream, the floor had been pulled out from under his calf-muscle and buttocks-enhancing man-pumps. "You were just so...perfect," Twinkilocks said under his breath as he glanced away and Luke fumbled with his phone, trying to forward contact information about Camp Blow-no-more.

"Listen, that`s nice and all that you think you`re better off. To each his own, right? But as young as I am, I know one thing for sure, Luke. You can`t just wipe the gay off like cum off your chin after a deepthroat session. You. Are. Gay. Or bisexual. Or curious. Whatever the hell you want to call yourself, go ahead and update your Facebook status. I don`t care. Just don`t tell me who you think I need to be because that is just fucked up, you douchebag. There`s nothing wrong with sucking a little dick every now and then, just ask 3 out of 4 altar boys at your little church down in South Carolina. I`m sure they can tell you all about how `sinful` it was pleasing their pastor during those `retreats`". Twinkilocks had never been a fan of finger quotes and so he did a quick double-squint to emphasize the quoted words for an accent effect. Sadly, from Luke`s point of view, it only looked like an epileptic seizure.

"Alright then, Twinkilocks. I`m just gonna make my way to the bar then. I have a few more pamphlets I need to pass out before I leave so... Can I get you your helmet or...?"

"Just STEP, bitch! You don`t know MY LIFE!" And yet again, Twinkilocks found himself stomping away from yet another failure he hoped to recount later on in life to his adopted Vietnamese daughter, Phab. However, as the gays also learn in the leaflet distributed by the Coming-Out Fairy, a good stomp-away requires two essential elements: 1. 20/20 vision unimpeded by glasses (necessary or poseur) to be aware of your surroundings and immediate stomp path. 2. Proper footwear for shock absobtion, showmanship and overall clop to aurally warn bystanders in the vicinity of the drama involved in the stomp.

As it would happen in such stories as this one, Twinkilocks had never made it to rule #2 of the leaflet. Alas, the illustration for rule #1 had proved too tempting for Twinkilocks` virgin eyes and he proceeded to enjoy himself all over the leaflet, completely blotting out the second rule with the proof of his enjoyment. And so Twinkilocks stomped like a limp-wristed stampede of one across the dancefloor to the tranny by the exit door.

"BAG! COAT! NOW!" barked Twinkilocks, "AND I WANT TO SEE SOME HAND SANITIZER ACTION BEFORE YOU TOUCH MY GOODS, YOU UNSIGHTLY GRENDEL!"

Twinkilocks collected his belongings and stormed out of the club, bathing those near the entrance in harsh, flourescent streetlight for a fleeting instant. After marching like a madman for 3 blocks, Twinkilocks had finally realized how cold it was and fumbled to put on his jacket.

"What?! This isn`t my cologne," he said to himself as he sniffed the jacket. "I don`t smoke either." And he slid the Marlboro reds back into the breast pocket. "God damn tranny gave me the wrong jacket!" And so Twinkilocks reluctantly began his walk back towards Hole.

The more steps he took back towards the club, the more depressed he became. Twinkilocks replayed all of his past failures over and over in his mind. Barnacle McClingster from Craigslist, Corey from Gay.com and now these two idiots from Manhunt.net. Maybe online dating just isn`t for everyone...

Twinkilocks had finally reached Hole and paused for a breath as he grabbed the slimy handle of the heavy front door. As the door swung open, he saw an older man in a grey suit, about 6 feet tall, dark brown slicked back hair holding his very own jacket, looking puzzled.

"Looks like you caught me," the man smouldered. Twinkilocks had never seen a proper smoulder before and he couldn`t believe his eyes. The longer this man smouldered, the more his sphincter expanded, wanting to let in every inch of this polished executive.

"I guess I have," he replied cooly. Twinkilocks took off and held out the man`s overcoat. In one deft move, the man grabbed the overcoat, spun Twinkilocks around, both his arms swinging open and back, and slid Twinkilocks smoothly into his jacket, the man`s hands finally resting strongly and patiently on his shoulders.

"Nice move, um..." Twinkilocks stammered.

"Jon. Jon Turkey."

"Nice move, Jon. Where did you learn that?"

"Well, you could say that I`m pretty well versed in the chivalrous days of the past. I like to bring back some of the better parts when I can."

"Well feel free to bring them back with me any time, Jon." He thought for a moment. "You know, Jon. You look awfully familiar. Have we met before?"

"Don`t think so, handsome. Impossible to forget a face like yours. My job makes me pretty visible to the public though. How about I tell you about it over dinner? Let`s go back to my place and I`ll cook us some steaks. You can take care of the wine."

"Sounds like a dream, Jon," Twinkilocks said as he slid his arm into the crook of Jon`s waiting elbow.

As they walked to Jon`s waiting car parked down the block, Twinkilocks thought to himself...

This one`s just right.

8.01.2008

Bill Goes to Japanese Summer Camp



So my job gave me the option this week of a change in pace. This week is “adjustment week” so all of my kids’ and group classes have vacation and we only teach the mind-numbing pre-packaged Free Time Lessons one after another. The company also came up with the idea of chant classes in which we teach English to fucking two-year-olds through dumbass rhythmic chants while they cry in their parents’ arms because the scary foreigner is clapping at them so loudly. So naturally, I signed up for the camp.

In preparation for my time at camp, there was a special training session for the counselors. I, unfortunately, couldn’t make it due to my busy morning schedule of torrent searching on Mininova and perving around X-Tube. So, I dropped by the office one day to pick up the orientation pack with all the lesson plans, a camp schedule, list of things to bring, etc. When I arrived home, I scanned the list of required items that I ‘d need for the three-day trip. Yeah, Jkids are bitches and can’t take more than 3 days/2nights away from their mommies, futons and PSPs. They’re quite plugged in over here. So I’m looking at the list. Bathing suit, of course, some shorts, bug spray and at the bottom of the office-prepared and neatly bulleted list in non-apologetic uppercase Arial was written “BEER”. I mean, of course I was planning to bring a small flask of something but I conspired to conceal it and wait until the other counselors deemed it socially appropriate to crack one open. I didn’t want to be the guy on the first day who’s already half-tanked by s’more time. He loves himself but nobody, absolutely nobody, loves him. We’ve all been there. Anyway, this prep-pack specifically ordered me to pack beer so I wasn’t going to shy away from this opportunity. Not two days before I was to leave for camp, I received a confirmation e-mail telling me the time to meet, how many kids I’d have, the usual. At the end of the e-mail, there was a post-script which read, “And if you haven’t already, don’t forget to pack BEER.” Subtle. Looking forward to camp doesn’t even begin to describe how deeply I yearned for grass-stained knees and creamy marshmallows pouring out of my mouth. That’s what summer camp’s all about, no?

Morning of, I have to meet all the Osaka kids at the station at 8:30. I set my alarm for 6am. I’m like thirty minutes away from the station. No problem, right? Smart me likes to play snooze-a-thon in the morning. After hitting the snooze button 4 times, I awake at quarter to eight and get my shit together in a never-before-seen-on-TV 8 minutes. I’m locking my apartment door at 7:53. Fuck yeah. Meeting time’s 8:30 and we’re scheduled to leave at 9. I have a detailed English map that pinpoints the location in the station where we’re all meeting. Upon arrival at the station, I’m realizing that the map isn’t as detailed as I previously thought it to be. Turns out, it’s one of those 3D cross-section types because the station’s so big and multiple places are starred. What the fuck. I could’ve sworn I only saw one star the first time I glanced at it. Anyway, I’m lost and it’s 8:21. This situation is not new for me. So I save time trying to be an independent douchebag and go right for the stationmaster to ask for directions. Whoops! What good is that going to do? The map’s in English and completely baffles the 3 attendants to whom I show it. They all start muddling their way through the first four syllables of the map title and by that point, I’m not havin’ it. They basically just point away from themselves and give me a hopeful look. The first guy sends me directly to the McD’s. Sometimes, when foreigners ask a …どこですか question (Where is…?), they merely get sent to the nearest place with an English-sounding name. I once asked for the local tax office and was directed to Starbucks. No joke. I guess they figure we’re satisfied if we can pronounce the name of the building. Next person I ask is the Shinkansen (bullet train) attendant because I’m thinking the bullet train is crazy expensive, which should, in my theory, render its attendants better trained and more knowledgeable than lowly subway attendants with the gray uniforms. Ok, so the Shinkansen attendants wear navy blue but it’s still not lowly gray. Anyway, the attendant just looks at my map and drags the word “conference room” slowly and sloppily through the mud that is his malformed lips. He finishes with an unreasonably wide smile, proud to have pasted together consonants and vowels in front of a white person. I don’t care how many fucking “Let’s Speak” Podcasts you have on your iPod Mini, you asshole. It’s 8:45 and I’m not seeing any Jkids with camp gear yet.

Someone calls my cell. Someone named Annie. I don’t recognize the number and I sure as hell don’t know an Annie but she knows I’m late so I ask her for some more specific directions to the elusive meeting alcove. But the secret alcove is no longer of interest. She tells me they’ve gone to the dreaded bus-loading area! WHAT?! A bus loading area isn’t on the map! This is totally against protocol. At the moment, I’m definitely regretting having missed that informative orientation session. I’m all sweaty, carrying my wrinkled map, cell phone and Japanese fan in one hand and a duffel full of clothes and a 24-pack and I still don’t see any fucking Jcampers. I tell this Annie character to grab the nearest J she can find and put him/her on the phone. I get this girl named Kaori. I tell her in real slow words, “I’m Bill. I want to come to the bus. Help me. Speak Japanese. 1…2…3…GO!” As I say GO, I pass my phone to the hooked-on-phonics Shinkansen attendant and tell him to speak with the appropriate hand gesture pointing to my mouth and miming away. This actually works. As soon as he puts the phone to his ear, the demeanor immediately changes from “silly talk with American” to “serious servitude with fellow Japanese national”. When Japanese people enter a service-related field, they dedicate themselves to their post entirely. No one is ever caught slacking off because it just doesn’t happen. So apparently this girl Kaori’s got some clout in the transportation industry because the attendant just keeps saying “Hai. Hai Hai.” and doing the little head bow that comes complementary with each acknowledgement of obedience and understanding. Even on the phone, one must always show the utmost physical respect.

So he closes my phone, looks around nervously for another attendant and scurries over to him. He hands the other guy his little metallic person-counter and scurries back. With a little bow and a hand flip, we’re off down the main corridor at a jogging pace with the lackey leading me on. Remember I still have all my belongings clenched in my hand, plus the not so feathery 24-pack weighing down my right side. We hit the stairs and he’s taking them two at a time like there’s going to be a promotion waiting for him at the end of this. At this point, all I’m thinking of is which person I’m going to give the first over-shaken agitated beer to that night. Not a minute later, the bus and a sea of Jcampers come into view. Not only are the Jcampers present, but also their parents, each with their brand new FujiFilm DigiCam. Js with cameras is not a stereotype. It’s just the fucking truth.

It’s 8:57 and I’m finally on the bus. I apologized to anyone with a clipboard that looks important about my late arrival but no one seems perturbed in the least. Those Js just never want a confrontation with foreigners because they don’t want to conjugate and have social stress at the same time. It’s just too much on their little systems. Strangely enough, neither an Annie nor a Kaori are on the bus or anywhere near the meeting area. No one I introduced myself to was the owner of either name so I guess I must’ve had a run in with the infamous Kaori and Annie of local urban legend. They are said to call foreigners out of the blue in times of need when all other help is no longer a possibility. No shit. My friend said her cousin’s roommate once received a phone call from Kaori only moments before she slurped her first Ramen noodle. Apparently, Kaori warned her that there was splinter on the tip of her chopsticks and she immediately removed it for fear of a horrible accident. Kaori saved her literally 2 minutes of splinter-removal time, just enough to throw my friend’s cousin’s roommate’s lunchtime schedule off kilter. Mysterious myth or indubitable data? You come to Osaka, get into a pickle and decide for yourself!

I haven’t even gotten to camp yet but now I’m on my way to America. To be continued after the stateside adventure. Hold on to your fucking panties, Gerard.

3.11.2008

Bill Goes to USJ


As it turns out, I live only 15 minutes away from Universal Studios JAPAN and I got myself pretty worked up by the time I actually arrived. After a few lackluster weekends of working overtime in the boonies or being sick, I was in quite a tizzy when I woke up early (for me) one morning to catch the train to USJ. The previous night, Shinichi and I were all over the website checking out the attractions, cursing the altitudinal ticket prices and devising a cunning plan of attack in order to fully take advantage of our 円 6,000 / 8-hour day. I was ready. I took four Tylenol, sliced some cucumber and even put myself to bed early to ensure my preparedness for following day’s event. There are Olympic athletes who call me for dedication and determination pep talks. Seriously, I have a separate cell for this.

Naturally, Shinichi and I are all about saving money in every situation we encounter and we were not about to let today get away without a chance to exercise our thrift muscles. I’ve been around the proverbial amusement park block a few times and know what to expect when it comes to food and drink prices and Shinichi likes to eat about every twenty minutes. Thus, a plan was born. So before we boarded the train, we each hit up the two nearest convenience stores, individually of course to maximize efficiency, and bought as many onigiri as we could fit in our pockets without being detected for suspicious bulges. Damn, if I had a nickel… Anyway, for those of you not selling your soul to Satan-san, onigiri are small triangles of packed white rice, usually stuffed with anything from salmon (delish) to natto (fermented soybeans {yuck}) to chicken and mayo (my favorite) and wrapped in crisp, green nori paper. They are a wonderful, cheap (99¢) and surprisingly filling snack option of which I take full advantage daily. So, we hop on the train, make one slick-ass transfer and we arrive at Yu-ni-ba-sa-ru Shi-te-i (Universal City) in under twenty.

When the train doors opened, you would’ve sworn somebody screamed Godzilla by the way these Js were hustling. Spiky hair, neon leggings and incessant digital camera flashes flew by me on my way to the escalator. Once upstairs in the station, we bought tickets at the Station Master’s Office, a little known convenience that saved us from waiting in the ticket line outside the park, which was unnaturally long for a Monday. We made our way through the ticket booth successfully undetected, not even molested by a single metal detector. Take that, untrusting North American amusement parks! We got ourselves a 円300 locker in which Shinichi put his Gucci handbag and other accessories deemed unnecessary by typical amusement park walking-culture.

Knowing full well that we only have eight hours during which to take advantage of the park’s impeccably spell-checked offerings, Shinichi and I dash to the most popular of the attractions, The Amazing Spider-man: The Ride. Now this is something that’s always peeved me a tad. Why is it always necessary to include the phrase “the ride” when an amusement park ride is created to emulate a movie or TV-show? We KNOW that the attraction in front of us, looming 30 stories above us, is obviously a ride. None of us are considering the possibility of everyone lining up just to see some guy dressed in a Spider-Man costume. I mean what the fuck would be the point of that? Ernie, Bert and the rest of the gang are out suffocating on the street corner being trampled by j-kids peace-ing them to death. What could possibly be so special about some fairy in a colored uni-tard that he gets to be inside an air-conditioned facility and be so uppity as to require a 90-minute queue? Nothing. Exactly. So take down the sign, cover up “the ride” with some creatively photoshopped webbing and re-hang that sucker because there is no doubt in our minds that we are waiting for a ride.

Back to the more important matter at hand, since we’re ranking my thoughts by their greatness and wisdom imparted to society. Shinichi and I vigilantly wait out the 90+ minute wait for this 3+ minute ride. However, the wait was not a complete loss for society. As I’m discovering more and more, I’m quite a valuable asset to this country; me with my wide, un-hooded eyes and non-jet-black receding coif. We all know how it is when you wait on line at a theme park. There are at least 20-30 people ahead of and behind you with whom you’ll be interacting visually for the entire length of the wait if not during the actual ride itself as well. The key word here is visually. For the next indefinite period of allotted time, you’re forced to stare these people down, avoid their countering stares and pick apart their outfits in your head, telling yourself you’d never be caught in an outfit like that or with such an inordinate amount of mousse in your hair. (Yeah, mousse is still in use over here. You can’t change anything so just let it go.) So as I’m eye-raping these poor over-dressed park-goers, I’m realizing that everyone is blatantly pupil-fondling me right back, completely disregarding any previously set rules of strictly avoiding direct eye contact at all costs. However, I had forgotten about the “foreigner in an amusement park on an isolated island” amendment that was updated in last month’s Amusement-Park-Goers’ Monthly Gazette. I know it’s naughty of me, but I always skip past the boring constitutional update news column and go straight to those colorful picture editorials! So not only am I being stared down by my personal audience of 40–60 people, but a few of them start the obligatory waving and “Herro”ing. I was in no way prepared for such a social onslaught on my one of two days off this month from teaching English. A group of tactlessly curious elementary school boys, in their little military uniforms and all, start off the riot with a simple, “Herro!” It was cute enough and I responded with my teacher-voiced “Hello!” which was, of course, accompanied by a ridiculously over-gestured wave. Teaching in Japan really does a number on your natural gestures. The Js don’t understand your English unless it’s accompanied by huge, obvious, unmistakable gestures, which provide clarity for the spoken sentence. So, I’ve become a bit of an ASL-head even when speaking to perfectly competent Americans. It’s a little embarrassing but as long as I can claim teaching ESL as an excuse, you can go screw yourself and stop calling me Helen Keller. After the preliminary greeting, I followed it up with a friendly “How are you?” with my hands appropriately rolling outward from my body and pointing toward the previously mentioned conversationalist to effectively pinpoint the object of my query. However, this simple question couldn’t have been higher in the stratosphere for the kid because he answered with his unintelligibly pronounced English version of his name. Most of my days are just like this. So of course, I modeled for him, with Shinichi snickering in his up-turned collar, how to respond to the question correctly with not a single, but a double thumbs-up and a simultaneous “I’m great!” He instantly copied me because that’s how English is taught here and thus, our conversation had terminated. I politely turned my body, smiling indefinitely, and started a fast mock-conversation with Shinichi in order to signal to the schoolchildren that my teaching time had definitely come to an end. Little to my knowledge, I was to repeat these very same steps at least 5 more times throughout the day. I’m honestly surprised I was not asked to sign anyone’s flat chest.

As with all lines, ours did finally end after the pre-determined 90 minutes and we anxiously boarded the spacious 12-person open-roofed side-opening coasterish sort of contraption. Don’t play like you don’t enjoy my unending hyphenated adjective strings. The ride turned out to be probably the best of the day. (You can stop reading now if you want but you might miss some more adj-strings.) It was really creatively done with mechanical set pieces combined with 3D screens everywhere that interacted with our stylishly square 3D glasses. They also did the classic water-spray and wind-blow during the respective villain attacks, which was quite a nice addition. An all-around success if you ask this veteran. I’m currently smoking my cigar and wearing a monocle in my silk night-robe if you were wondering.

Violently struck by the piercing sunlight, I whipped out my sunglasses and we headed to the next attraction, fully refreshed by the outdoor chill after being in between so many humid J-bodies for so long. Sexy, no? We headed towards Terminator 3D and were quickly herded in to the tail end of the next showing. Being in Japan, everything was in…wait for it…Japanese! Shocker! So it was a good thing that I’d seen this show already down in Orlando back in ’98 when the video was still up to date. It was pretty entertaining to watch the Cyberdyne video of happy blonde families interacting on sunny beaches with side ponytails and solid-colored matching sweat-sets. All of this outdated goodness combined with sweet over-emoted Japanese voice acting made me the only one giggling with Shinichi hitting me because I was showing disrespect to the park. Don’t you just love their respect-the-man-group-think they’ve got going on over here? We’re soon seated and the show starts with a live actress displaying the most recent T-1000 robots, which are meant to protect the citizens of Cyberdyne’s local city. However, Sarah and John Connor soon drop from the ceiling and interrupt the presentation. This would’ve been really badass if the actors weren’t white and lip-syncing to the Japanese audio playback again. Something about the audio and the visual just didn’t click for me so I focused on the uber-fun 3D images popping out at me through my 3D glasses, also stylishly square. The crowning affair was probably when Arnold busted through the screen on his motorcycle and shot the Japanese bitch point blank in the face with his shotgun. Although he also spoke in Japanese, it really didn’t matter cuz most of what Arnold always said in the movies was pretty unintelligible to begin with so they really got lucky in this aspect. However, for future reference, Arnold was about 30, white with the correct haircut and a little chunky around the middle. Not the perfect Terminator, but close enough from a distance to maintain the illusion. Everything here is always about maintaining something’s or someone’s illusion whether it be with the latest clothes, pounds of make-up or a mess of crazy host hair at angles only previously achieved in manga comics.

Right after Terminator finished, we weaved our way through the dawdling crowd of J-park-goers and hit up our first non-3D and actual moving ride of the day, Jurassic Park. Now, you must understand that I was really very honestly and wholeheartedly excited to mount this ride. Seriously, I can’t say that very often, living in Japan and all. (Snicker, snicker) I’ve always loved Jurassic Park, especially the part when T-Rex chomps down through the SUV’s glass sunroof and the kids are holding it up between his teeth and their puny, little legs. I was totally on the edge of my little 1994 seat when I first saw that animatronic craziness. On top of that, I had seen, maybe only in my head, advertisements for Universal Studios back in the day about the Orlando ride that simulated that exact thin-sheet-of-glass-between-human-and-dinosaur situation. Needless to say, I was thoroughly disenchanted upon entering the ride’s vehicle without seeing any glass-roof mechanism above my head. Fucking safe-ass Japan can’t have any fun. The Jurassic Park ride was a water ride and since it was about 40 degrees that day, I wasn’t all that psyched about this but I still gave it a go cuz I’m still more hardcore than stupid Jeff Goldblum in that silly droplet on the hand scene which had something vaguely to do with his theory of chaos. It was your basic 12-person yellow lifeboat contraption, an average log flume denizen. I tightened my hood to sphincter-like tension and braced myself for the worst. I’m picturing Sesame Street Lazy River style water attacks where they always soak you with the most innocent-looking contraptions. However, I was a bit let down when the whole first 3 minutes of the ride was a dry, sluggish tour through a bright and sunny Jurassic Park followed by the unforeseen escape of the velociraptors in the cow-feeding pen. What a fucking surprise, right? Boring! I’ve seen this already and if they didn’t show me the mauled cow in the movie, you’re sure as hell not going to show it to me live. Anyway, it finally paid off once they took us up the classic end-of-ride ramp for the quintessential freefall, typical of most blog-worthy flumes. This freefall was quite an exciting one because just as we finally came across the T-Rex, the clunky thing lumbers directly toward our boat and just as it lowers it’s jaws to gobble us up, the boat drops right down that slope to freedom! We all saw it coming but it was just such a nice rush compared to the early-bird-special ride that it began as. To sum it up, I was wet and happy and for once, didn’t need a Kleenex to solve that adjectival combo.

We barely disembarked from our yellow dingy before Shinichi is checking one of his three (completely unnecessary) cell phones to verify the hour. He looks up at me in 100% honest despair and says, “Bill, if we do not run, we will certainly miss the 2:30 Waterworld show.” His concern was absolutely classic, as if our lives depended on making it to this outstanding performance of action-packed water stunts. So of course, we sprinted down the handicapped-only exit ramp and made it to the Waterworld arena just as the attendants were shutting the doors. Why they were shutting them, I’m not sure. The amphitheatre was nowhere near capacity. Shinichi and I walked right up front to the splash zone and didn’t even have to block anyone’s view in doing so. Alright, so there we were, psyched as hell for this supposedly award-winning stunt show. It opens with this girl riding around the pool on a jet ski. She’s wearing a long-white top connected to a skirt with a blue-ish end-of-civilization tattered vest over it. Under the top/skirt, she’s wearing these extremely unflattering nude tights. She’s in the water all day in March. I’m pretty sure she’s not wearing these for aesthetic reasons. Either way, she looks pretty uncomfortable in this getup. She’s running around for a while, speaking her lines in Japanese through her non-existent microphone and lip-syncing pretty badly. However, all the Js are absolutely smitten with this character. “Beautiful white lady talk my words!” Soon enough, their collective bubbles are burst when Dennis Hopper’s badass pirate king character comes storming through the main gates of the pool backed up by some death metal song on the loudspeakers. I’ll admit that if I were enslaved into acting in this Waterworld show, I would most probably want this badass pirate king role. He had a little Japanese sidekick and everything! So he talks a bit, she talks a bit, he monologues, he captures her, etc. I’m pretty bored. I’m falling asleep cuz the acting’s bad, I can’t understand the dialogue and no one’s even sporting any prosthetic gills. Then out of nowhere, WHACK! I’m hit rather forcefully, square in the forehead, with a fucking golf ball. I’m completely awoken from my daze and I turn my head to see the majority of the jaudience laughing at me in that stereotypical Asian hand-over-mouth laugh. Ugh! Apparently, part of the pirate king’s bit is that he’s bored while waiting for the Kevin Costner character to come rescue the girl and so he starts to play golf off the side of his little boat. Of course, they use these light-as-hell hollow golf balls, like a heavier ping-pong ball, but still they fly. So on his first shot, I’m struck nicely in the face and the Js couldn’t have been more pleased with the silly foreigner who didn’t listen when the loudspeakers said, “Fore!” in Japanese. Whoops! My mistake! So after that, I continued to pay attention, lest there be any more spontaneous sporting events to which I wanted to be privy. The rest of the show continued pretty predictably with the girl being rescued, the villain finally dying with a pretty sick fall into the water and some explosions with an actual floatplane being shot through a wall. The only thing that really stood out after the golf ball incident was the size of Kevin Costner’s character. He was this really husky, older gentleman who reminded me of Mr. Incredible before the get-in-shape montage part of the movie. He was pretty tall, compared to j-standards and had wavy blonde hair but was lumbering around the stage like he was dragging a ball and chain full of donuts and Thanksgiving turkey. This guy was nothing like what the mariner should’ve looked like but the audience fully forgave his character-related shortcomings due to his dreamy, blonde coif. Appearance is everything!

After the spectacular piece of wondrous outdoor theatre known to the Js as Waterworld, we hit up these unremarkable attractions in the following order:
1. Jaws – short line, same ride as in America, unusually good acting from the over-jolly boat driver. Thumbs up, Yumiko!
2. Hollywood Dreams, The Ride – a rollercoaster that was shut down. The only roller coaster in the park.
3. Black people singing – four African Americans singing really bad R&B music in a carnival style trailer.
4. Sesame Street 3D – a crock of fucking shit with too much water being sprayed in our faces from the seats in front of us. Shinichi and I were both angry upon exiting, having undoubtedly wasted our precious park time on such a trivial experience.
5. Back to the Future, The Ride – a very nice way to end the day. Nostalgic yet refreshing. Really similar to Spiderman, just not as flashy. Old enough to feel a twinge of danger.

And thus, we concluded our day at USJ. Seven attractions, dancing Negroes and one closed coaster. We considered it a success despite the midday rain. More to come on this week’s Maroon 5 concert. Millions of Js gyrating to Adam Levine’s artfully raised shirttails is always worth some Internet space in my book. さよなら!

10.16.2007

NOVA's Going Down Sans Dental Dam



That's right, friends. The wonderful company with which I signed a year-long employment contract is currently going bankrupt (rumor published by newspapers) and leaving thousands of foreigners to financially flounder about before we get deported. In addition, the higher-ups of the company have just been paid recently after not receiving payment from last month and the poor Japanese staffers haven’t been paid yet at all. Of course, I've just recently moved out of my NOVA-sponsored apartment and into my own cheaper place downtown. This came at a very good time since all of the other employees still in NOVA accommodations are currently being evicted because guess what...NOVA is taking rent money from their paycheck but not paying the rent for the apartment! Wow! Talk about professional!

So...tomorrow is the official Union Strike during which all the teachers belonging to the union will take off of work and file a complaint of prosecution against the company president, hold a press conference and protest for extra media attention. However, this is all happening in Tokyo, 8 hours from me, so I will be enjoying yet another sick day with my roomie Parris watching YouTube movies and eating cheaply-made meals while I wait for job offers and interviews to materialize. But no worries, I've already secured a private student, an additional part time teaching job with children and am also applying to two other part time teaching organizations so I think I have the majority of my bases covered. I just want to be able to pay the rent / gym membership / cell phone / Internet / utilities / food bills. Let's see that happen with my account currently at $200 USD. This should be fun to see how elastic my money can be.

Well I apologize for the un-satirical and realistically bitter blog but I just wanted to let everyone at home know of the wonderful situation of things in Japan but soon, things should get better. I'm forever positive and like to believe that things will just work out for someone as fabulous as myself. At least that's what my self-help cassette tapes tell me to think. Anyway, talk to you all soon and hope not to see you too soon!

9.22.2007

Twinkilocks and the Three Bears (CH2)



Chapter 2

As you’ve already noticed, Twinkilocks is not your average hero(ine). Instead of sulking in a state of perpetual woe-is-me-ness, Twinkie mounted that horse once more in search of a proper mentor. The sour date with Barney McClingster didn’t faze him in the least. Twinkie decided to up his ante and employ a new search engine. Maybe a little variety was all he needed. After all, those Craigslist ads were just so vague to him and that whole e-mail business turned out to be way too slow for a twink with such velocity as his.

And so it came that Twinkilocks turned his attention to the all too-conveniently-named Gay.com. A few months back on a trip to Ibiza, Twinkie’s post-op cruise acquaintance, Julie, had turned him on to the wonder and awe of the gay-dot-com realm. Before meeting Julie, Twinkie had spent two dateless nights upon the cruise ship meandering from activity to activity, trying to strike up conversation around the shuffleboard court and failing miserably. At such a tender time in his life, Twinkilocks just didn’t feel very confident around all the other gays. He had just come out of the color-coordinated walk-in closet and tread very lightly on his newfound faggot feet just like an innocent baby calf. Walking aimlessly around the deck, feigning interest in the darkened horizon ahead reminded him of his high school days when he’d walk carefully around the high school gymnasium trying not to be noticed by the girls waiting to be asked to dance. He’d never felt such pressure in his life. As if he were obligated to make those cows feel loved! Niucca, please! Even at fourteen years of age, Twinkie knew that he was not about to entertain any of those hags’ ideas of a possible romance with such a svelte stud as himself. Besides, he was busy watching the captain of the wrestling team grind on the dance floor with his girlfriend, oscillating his hips ever so maliciously as if he knew that Twinkilocks’ eyes were glued to his pelvis, secretly envisioning it clad in a purple and gold singlet. Just as most gays can commiserate, Twinkilocks’ high school years weren’t his finest and being reminded of them wasn’t the most pleasant of experiences.

And so, as if sent by God herself, Julie appeared to Twinkie one afternoon on the deck as the ship cruised along the coast of Morocco. Julie elegantly eclipsed Twinkie’s sunlight and as he glanced up from his upholstered chaise lounge, he knew that his life had just been changed forever, without a lick of his own consent.

Julie had just completed her transition into womanhood and decided that as a reward for the endless months of hormone therapy and psychiatric evaluations, it was time to flaunt everything that deserved flaunting. She was very proud of her new and fairly voluptuous breasts, even if they were pill-induced. She pushed them together so violently in her mandarin-orange tankini top that you’d think there should’ve been someone nearby with a bottle of Korbel awaiting a Mimosa. Luckily, Twinkilocks wasn’t the least bit intimidated by the bodacious melons and the two began to converse like old swim-club cronies. Just as Twinkie mentioned that he had been having a hard time socializing on the boat, Julie asked him why he hadn’t tried the website.

“Are you serious? It’s really called Gay.com?”
“Yeah, why not?”
“I don’t know. I guess I thought all gay websites had to have some clever name that merely suggested homosexuality.”
“No, baby, it’s pretty straight to the point.”

And so no sooner did Twinkie jump up from his lounge and toss on a sarong, was he back in his room, logging in to Gay.com for the first and most certainly, not the last time in his life. As the home page loaded slowly on his nautical Internet connection, Twinkilocks could hear the angels rejoicing in his head. How could I not have known?! He was allowed to post a picture of himself and view photos of other guys all over the world while simultaneously chatting with all of the guys in one of thousands of chat rooms categorized by sexual fetishes, location and/or ethnicity! Twinkilocks was practically creaming himself before he even finished setting up his account, finally deciding upon JaiLBaiT69 as his username. Because he didn’t have any of his professional headshots with him at sea, Twinkie quickly snapped a classic elevated-camera-big-doe-eyes-equals-innocent-mischief picture of himself. Totally MySpace. The picture was only posted next to his username for two minutes when Twinkie started receiving private message after private message, soliciting him for sexual favors, decadent weekend jaunts with salt-and-peppered businessmen and offers of cold hard cash for his presence at various high school reunions and lacrosse game after-parties.

“Is this really happening?” Twinkie asked no one out loud. He couldn’t believe all this instantaneous action that he had been missing for so long. This just couldn’t be true!

The messages just kept popping up in front of his eyes, which were glazing over with weiner-wishing wonder. They were filling up his screen so quickly that he barely had a chance to respond to all the various suitors from all over the world, all wanting just a morsel of Twinkie for themselves.

GaryG1972 – 35 – Austin, TX: Hey, JB! What’s goin’ on?

AzzMaster – 44 – Wichita, KS: u lookin?

HairyPitsnFeet – 59 – Hackensack, NJ: hey, what u into? u hairy?

All of these men were way too forward for Twinkie’s liking, not to mention a bit too raunchy for the type of mentor that he had in mind. Moreover, all of their pictures were of the dirty ex-boyfriend kind. You know the type: the dirty pose with next to nothing on that’s at such a distance and angle that it couldn’t have been taken with a timer. Let’s not kid ourselves now. There’s no way a camera can be positioned above a bed to catch a guy in bird’s eye view while he’s on the receiving end of a golden shower. Some guys do actually get turned on by these pictures, but Twinkilocks is not one to get excited by a fantasy previously shared by two other men in a relationship. He’s definitely not into sharing, especially when it comes to lovers. Twinky likes his men like his party cups: solo. Corny, right? Well so is this story, so shut the fuck up.

After some time ignoring certain guys and reviewing others’ profiles, Twinkie decided to give it a rest. None of the guys that were talking to him were cute, not to mention remotely near his hometown, so why should he even bother getting excited? Just then, as things tend to conveniently and miraculously happen in tales such as this one, a new message popped onto his screen like a Bubbalicious explosion of jism. Twinkilocks read with eyes as wide as Jeff Palmer’s money-maker.

Swinger77 – 30 – Metropolis suburbs: Hey stud, wanna chat?

Twinkilocks was absolutely elated. Thirty was old enough to have a decent amount of wisdom, right? Plus, he happened to be from the same area so a date was definitely possible. What was even better was that his screen name suggested that he was into swings and must really love to go to the park, so he must be a real fun guy! Twinkie sure couldn’t believe his good fortune.

JaiLBaiT69: Hey! Sure! What’s going on?
Swinger77: NM man. pretty bored here… figured id see whos online from home.
JaiLBaiT69: What do you mean from home? You mean ur not from outside Metropolis anymore?
Swinger77: no no. i am from there. im just not there now. My friends took me on this stupid cruise and im bored out of my mind.
JaiLBaiT69: A cruise? Where are u right now?
Swinger77: well the captain said we passed morocco today so were probably somewhere north of there by now, idk.

HOLY SHIT! Twinkie must’ve spent his entire past life helping old women cross busy streets to have such uncanny luck as this. There’s no way this could be happening! But of course, it was. The two guys were absolutely dumbstruck with such a random meeting and agreed to hook up for a date later that night at the ship’s piano bar.

To prepare for his impromptu boat-date, Twinkie decided to spend the rest of the day in the ship’s spa. He figured he’d start off with a nice full-body mud bath, followed by a rejuvenating cucumber-mint facial, a full mani/pedi and of course a deep tissue massage provided by none other than Hans, the ship’s Swiss masseur. Conveniently enough, Twinkie had spotted Hans last night canoodling with one of the deck hands during the unusually raucous round of Blow Job Bingo on the upper deck. Who knew all the ship’s gays would’ve gotten out of hand at such an innocent activity? Anyway, with Hans’ not-exactly-limp-wristed-status confirmed, Twinkilocks was pretty sure he could squeeze a happy ending out of his 50-minute massage. All he needed to do was coerce our blonde and bronzed Swissy into opening as wide as he did last night.

Fortunately, everything worked out in the spa for our protagonist and he was able to dress for his date with a refreshed mind and body, having fully rid his corps of toxins and pretty much all his semen as well. Hans, on the other hand, would have to lay off the mixed nuts for the next few days for fear of a protein overdose.
Twinkie made sure to slip his inches into his novelty Ginch Gonches and then threw on his favourite white linen barely-buttonable shirt. Very Ricky Martin circa 1999. But Twinky could pull it off due to the innumerable hours he spent on the ship’s clothing-optional deck in the past few days. That shirt paired with sleek khaki Bermuda shorts and his brown leather mandals from H&M made our young yet timelessly stylish Twinky a fashionable force to be reckoned with.

It was nearing 11pm and Twinky decided he’d better get a move on if he was going to gracefully walk the line between fashionably late and a possible no-show. The last thing he wanted was for Corey (Swinger77) to think that he stood him up, especially not since they were hometown heroes. Twinky just wanted to make sure he didn’t come off as uber-desperate and show up exactly on time. Only a few minutes later, Twinky made his prerequisite Cinderella-at-the-ball-esque entrance and sauntered towards the bar once he was finished signing autographs and kissing babies.

He could tell he had found Corey as soon as he laid eyes on the over-sized lapels of his 70s-inspired salmon dinner-jacket. Corey was indeed 30ish as could be seen from his youthful hairline and bleached faux-bouffant, playing the part of the lovechild of Zack Morris and Ross Gellar. As Twinky approached Corey, he noticed his foot shaking incessantly under the bar, making the bowling ball bag at the bottom of his stool jiggle like Bill Cosby’s career-saver. So he was a little nervous, not a problem. After all, who wouldn’t be nervous to meet a catch like Twinky?

“Well, you must be Corey…I’m Twinkilocks but you can call me Twinkilocks. It’s a pleasure.”
“Oh, um, hello! Yeah! Yeah! Great to meet you too, man! Let’s get a, um, let’s get a table, ok?!”

As Corey grabbed his bowling bag and led the way to the restaurant, Twinky joked to himself, “Oh my, he has a lot of energy. He must be carrying around a kilo of fresh Colombian coffee in that bag! Haha!” Well, Twinky was at least half-right. There was something Colombian in there.

Twinky hadn’t even sat down before Corey was pouring them both large glasses of water and simultaneously lighting a Newport.

“So, I mean, uh, it’s great that we’re both from, uh (sniff) the same area because you know, if uh, if we uh (sniff) hit it off then it would be totally convenient to meet up back home sometime.” (Takes a quick drag from his cigarette, barely inhaling before exhaling, more out of habit and roughly used his sleeve to wipe his nose.) “So, yeah, um, what do you do back home, anyway? Cuz I know a lot of people in the business and I’m always (sniff sniff) networking and shit, so I know lots of people in the business and I’m pretty good at networking so if you ever need any, you know, (sniff) whatever you might need, I could probably get it for you. Just let me know like a couple hours in advance ‘cuz some of my contacts, I mean friends, don’t like to be bothered or rushed when they’re, uh, working, yeah working (sniff) so just give me like a couple hours and some cash and I can like, totally hook you up, with, you know, whatever you’re looking for.”

Twinky was confused but still interested. If he had known Corey had a cold, he would’ve brought him some chicken soup to help him with his sniffles. But since Corey was supposedly so good at networking, Twinky thought he could probably get any old chicken noodle soup delivered to him any time he wanted. “Wow! Networking is so cool! I bet he knows so many interesting and influential people back in Metropolis!” he thought.

“Wow! Networking is so cool, Corey! I bet you know so many interesting and influential people back in Metropolis!”
“Well, you know (sniff) uh, I don’t like to brag but if you ever have a, um, problem or anything, I’m the guy, to uh, go to, uh, I’m your go-to guy.”
“Oh, gee! Really?!”

Twinky decided to move in early and even though the drinks hadn’t even come yet, he moved his foot across to Corey’s underneath the table but instead came into contact with his bowling bag.

“Oh! I’m so sorry. I just kicked your bag over. Here let me fix it for you.”

As Twinky glanced underneath the table to place the bag back upright, he was greeted with a huge cloud of white powder. He must’ve kicked the bag harder than he thought to have brought up that much dust!

“Oh my! I’m so sorry, Corey. I kicked your bag so hard that all the talc came off of your bowling ball! Or is that just your gym bag? I like to use baby powder after I shower too. It makes me feel so clean and innocent, especially after a busy day in the locker room.”

“Uh, yeah (sniff) yeah. That’s my gym bag. I reeeaaallllyyy like baby powder too. I just can’t stand, uh, to sweat. Hehe. You know? I just gotta, um, keep dry at all, uh, times, you know?”
“Totally, Corey. I just hate being all wet and icky! Ewww!”
“Hey, uh, you know what? Why don’t we just skip dinner and do some shots and sing some karaoke, huh? (sniff) What do you think about, uh, doing some shooters and, uh, singin’ some karaoke? Huh? Yeah?”
“Um, yeah ok. I guess that’s alright. I can always just heat up a South Beach micro-meal later. Alright! Bring on the shots! I want a Red-headed slut!”
“Yeah, uh, sure man. (sniffs and signals waiter) Two shots of liquid cocaine and one shot of, uh, what did you want again? Red-handed whore?”
“No, a red-headed slut.”
“Yeah, one of those. Thanks babe.” Corey slipped a fifty in the waiter’s dangerously-low front pocket and slapped his ass as he walked away to fetch the shots. “Good kid, that guy. I, uh (sniff) I uh, networked for him the other night. He was, uh, feelin’ really low so I, um, you know, helped him raise his spirits, you know? Gave him a little pick-me-up, right?”
What a humanitarian, this guy! “Aww, really? That’s so nice of you, Corey. He must’ve really liked whatever you gave him because I just saw him walk away with a big boner! Haha!”
“Well, yeah, um, that’s what coke… coca-cola does to you, you know man? Hehe. Yeah. That’s exactly what coca-cola does to the, uh, body. (sniff) All that fuckin’ sugar, you know? Just pops that dick right up! Hehe.”

Just then, as Twinky was beginning to get an actual inkling of what was going on, Corey suddenly snagged an electronic device out of the back pocket of a passing waiter and slammed it down on the table.

“It’s karaoke time!” he screamed at a level just high enough to make Twinky uncomfortable in this low-key piano bar. Corey grabbed his fork and started to stab unforgivingly at the tiny keypad, making his selection as quickly as a virgin at the Bunny Ranch. Just as soon as Corey threw the fork back on the table, the intimate soundtrack of the evening abruptly stopped and the sound of a shoddy stereo system hummed slowly to life as 5 separate TV screens around the dining room lit up to announce the title and table number of the upcoming entertainment. An automated spotlight spun on its rusty hinges to soak poor Twinky’s table in a horrible fluorescent glow, which Twinky feared was going to make his complexion appear blotchy and un-tropical. However, he caked enough foundation on earlier that all the audience saw was an unevenly-bronzed youth sitting next to a jittery man dressed younger than his age and being handed a wireless microphone from a very reluctant waiter.

However, as bad as the scene did indeed seem, Twinky was momentarily relieved when he heard the first chords of “Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady” grace the air. “How bad could this really be?” Twinky thought to himself, “After all, it is my favorite song. If anything, I can always join in to duet and cover the harmonies.”

Unfortunately, it looked as if Corey would need no help at all. He confidently got up from the table and the spotlight followed him to the makeshift stage, lagging mechanically and creating an aura of amateurism around the performance. Twinky was grateful to be out of the spotlight but still craved the attention, as is the case with most gorgeous and modest gay men. Suddenly, Corey turned a dial on the machine adjacent to the stage and the tempo increased to 160bpm and Corey had never looked happier. He sped through the entire song faster than K-Fed’s career and the audience was absolutely shocked he was able to impeccably enunciate each and every lyric of the song. Corey cow-towed rather ostensibly while the audience applauded numbly, still not quite believing what they had just seen. Not a sniffle had interrupted his song and it was all over in a matter of a minute and thirty seconds.

After handing the mic back to a nearby waiter, Corey reappeared at the table with a boy that couldn’t have been any older than Twinky.

“Oh, um, hello. I’m Twinkilocks. And who might you be?”
“Dylan.”
Corey interjected, “Dylan and I just discovered that we have some mutual friends back in, uh, Metropolis and I thought it would (sniff) be nice if we all got to know, um, each other a bit more, you know, intimately.”

Twinky was a little wary of the situation but decided to go with the flow to see if Corey was really worth the trouble. Dylan looked like the kind of guy who had seen his share of trouble. He was dressed in a dirty fedora with a worn, vintage AX t-shirt and stone-rinsed, acid-washed jeans dyed to look new again. Twinky was not about to be fooled by this boy. He knew that Dylan shopped at Marshall’s and the only expensive thing he owned were his cheek implants, which were probably a gift from a rich, businessman trick anyway.

Dylan pulled up a chair and sat unnecessarily close to Corey’s side of the small table. With one hand under the table placed at a questionable angle towards Corey’s crotch, Dylan pulled a moist-looking roach from his crumpled pack of KOOL menthols and proceeded to light up in the middle of the restaurant.

“Um, excuse me, Dylan. I don’t think you’re allowed to smoke your reefer here in the restaurant. They have laws about that even if we are at sea.”
“Fuck off, Twonky. I’ll do what I want. You don’t know me.”
“Hold on one hot-fucking-second, you bitch! You can curse at me all you fucking want but there is no way you will ever again utter the word you just used against me. I am a lean, fabulous and Adonis-like faggot from Metropolis and you better fuckin’ recognize!”
“Whoah, um, Twinky,” Corey interrupted, “Take it, uh, easy, ok, man? (sniff) How bout we all skip the drinks and go back to, um, my room and, uh, soak in my hot tub to, um, cool off a bit. Yeah? What d’ya think, uh, boys?”
“Sure, let’s go before this twonk gets us kicked out for screaming like a bitch,” Dylan politely added.
“THAT’S THE LAST FUCKING STRAW, CUNTBAG! I’MA CUT YOU!”

With that line, Twinky leapt over the dinner table, knocking over the candles, drinks and silverware. He landed directly on top of Dylan and started pulling his badly colored hair out and scratching his face up just like he learned from his girl, Sho’nuff-Diamante, back in Metropolis. Corey stood over the two boys, pouring candle wax on his nipples and masturbating through the hole in his trousers, which apparently didn’t serve as a pocket.

When all was said and done, a team of waiters, specifically trained in gay combat, had separated Twinky from the lifeless body and discarded the corpse over the starboard railing. Dylan’s ID had proven that he wasn’t even a legal passenger aboard the ship and therefore was not anyone’s problem and Twinky was exonerated from all charges.

Unfortunately, date number two didn’t go as well as Twinky had hoped and Corey had stopped bothering him after he refused to have a three-way with one of the G-S.W.A.T. guys in the lobby fountain. But the tide is always changing in the life of a gay. When the cruise returned to Metropolis, Twinky disembarked, sad to think that the site that had brought him such wonder and awe had now disappointed him. But, the mood quickly turned around as Twinky passed one of his favorite bars, Hole, on his way back to his apartment. Tonight, hole was having an End-Of-Summer party sponsored by some website called Manhunt.net.

“Manhunt.net? That sounds ridiculous. I am sooo over all that internet dating shit anyway.” Twinky continued on his way home but one block later said to himself, “Well, it’s not like I’m doing anything tonight…”



to be continued…

8.31.2007

Reisurely Activities in Japan

After having lived in Japan for little over a month now and becoming comfortable with my job and my surroundings, I’ve been able to enjoy a little of what old Nippon has to offer its denizens in the way of leisure.

Firstly, I got back on the proverbial bucking bronco and joined a new and semi-overpriced gym here in Osaka. Now I’m used to the wonderful ‘mom & pop’ feel of the YMCA back in Jersey where it’s very laid back, the towels are a comforting pea green color and the machines haven’t been serviced in about 5 years. That’s just what I like. I guess I find a sort of comfort in mediocrity and not trying too hard. So the evil, new gym is located about a ten minute walk from work and it’s on the 6th floor of the shopping complex called Ame Mura, which of course, is short for America Mall. I do not know who does the translation for these people. I just know they’re usually wrong. So to get to Ame Mura, you have to walk through the trendy shopping district of Shinsaibashi. The streets are lined with hundreds of small, overpriced boutiques that sell typically Americanized fashion, or at least what the Japanese consider to be American fashion. All the stores sport signs for Hollister or Abercrombie and have mannequins on the sidewalk dressed in ripped jeans, converse sneakers, a trucker hat and of course, the typical dirty-looking and overpriced faded, vintage tee. Outside these stores and in several courtyards are all of the Harajuku girls and boys who basically sit or stand around and try to be noticed in their fashionable attire. Who are they trying to be noticed by, you ask? I have no fucking clue. They’re pretty much all dressed equally eccentrically so I can’t imagine anyone really being impressed other than a foreigner like myself, who happens to view the entire things as pretty absurd. But then again, at least they’re not smoking pot and killing little girls on bicycles.

So if the neighborhood is as uber-posh as I’m describing it, you can only imagine how faux-ritzy the gym must be. First of all, everyone gets way too dressed up just to walk in the door. But this is common in everyday life, people being ridiculously overdressed for mundane activities, so in comparison, getting dressed to go to the gym is perfectly reasonable. I mean, you’re going to be seen by easily at least 200 people walking there, taking the train and passing through Shinsaibashi so you should probably get out your red carpet gown. Once you’re finally in the gym, there’s a complex system of getting yourself started, JUST LIKE EVERYWHERE ELSE! God forbid I ever have an easy time doing anything but wiping my ass in this country. They’d make you wipe to and fro and side to side if they could only find a way to monitor it with a high enough level of customer service.

So when step out of the elevator, you enter the main lobby, which overlooks the humungous sky-lit pool on the top floor of the mall. I give my ID card to one of the many attendants at the desk, all of whom are dressed in the same uniform of sneakers, grey shorts and this blue jersey-type thing that’s not very flattering for the females but since when are females important in this society anyway? After I hand in the ID card, there’s usually some problem with something that I can’t understand even after it’s explained to me so I just ask them if the gym is open and if it’s OK for me to go. So eventually, they just get sick of trying to explain things to me and just let me go. Ignorance really is bliss sometimes. But before I go into the locker room I have to swipe my ID card through another card reader for attendance purposes I guess. Then I grab a towel and head to the locker, in which it is prohibited to wear your shoes, just like the fitting rooms in department stores. So I walk through the beautifully floored and lacquered locker room and choose a locker. Once at the locker, I put my ID card in a little slot in the door, which releases a numbered key from the door. This key is on a little blue bracelet that I wear at all times while at the gym and it’s a bit cumbersome but at least I don’t have to pay for it. So once that’s all set and I’m changed, I am ready to finally begin exercising. No! Wait! I still don’t have my shoes on.

I have to collect my shoes from among the mountain of everyone else’s shoes at the door, a totally inefficient system, and walk with shoes in hand to the stretching mats opposite the pool. After stretching sans shoes, I can finally tie myself up and get on a treadmill. Fortunately, my gym, which is called Tokyu Oasis: Club West, (uppity, right?) uses the same equipment as the YMCA so all the treadmill’s buttons are written in Japanese but are in the same place. So I run like I fucking own the place. Every time someone passes I fiddle with the buttons as if to say, “Duh, of course I can read Kanji. Do I look like an idiot to you?” Most of my life here is about fooling people into thinking I actually know what’s going on. I do pretty well at this considering my absolute Alicia Silverstone status.

After a sweaty half hour of treadmill, it’s time to move on to the weights. This is where I was first humiliated on my first day at the gym last week. Apparently this gym is all about ego because on each and every piece of weight equipment (smith press, leg press, etc.) there are two stickers on the weights, a red circle and a blue circle. Much to my own chagrin, I only realized that these stickers refer to recommended weight amounts for men (blue) and women (red) after about two days of using said machines. So, I was all over that awesome red dot because the blue was a bit too heavy for me after taking a month off from working out in any way whatsoever. And so I can just imagine how John Wayne I must’ve looked huffing and puffing away trying to lift those red dotted weights on my first few days. “Rook at the pretty rady rifting his weights!” They all must’ve had a good chuckle about that one later on in the tea room.

So needless to say, weightlifting is quite a humorous and humbling experience in this country, for me at least. Anyway, on my most recent trip to the gym, I was on the treadmill, which looks across the open plaza (6 floors down) and faces the pool area across the plaza. So basically, I have complete surveillance of the pool and its swimmers at all times while I’m running, which really does the trick when it comes to distracting me from counting the minutes. Not only do I get to watch all the funny aqua-cise classes but I also get to scope out all the J-boys in their skivvies. So the other day, these two ridiculously toned guys come strutting out of the locker room, yes, strutting, and they make their way over to the lounge chair area where they are in plain view of my treadmill. They are both at least 6 feet tall, evenly tanned, wearing tight blue jammers and have at most 6% body fat. As if I wasn’t sweating enough already, my perspiration levels quickly spiked as my interest in the countdown clock suddenly waned. Now of course, the more handsome of the two boys decides that before his swim, he needs to take a few pictures for god knows what. I’m not sure how popular MySpace is over here but I need to get his fucking user name. So he hands his buddy a digital camera and proceeds to pose against the glass window with his ass directly in front of me. I’m pretty positive he had no idea I was watching as intently as I was, but at that moment, I could swear he was posing for my eyes only. Moving on, he takes a few pictures and after each one dutifully reviews it giving it the thumbs up for immediate uploading or the thumbs down due to over-smiling or bulge positioning. I thought this was bad enough and I was all ready to go get my frustration out in the locker room and skip my work out, but no, he was not finished yet. Mister super model decides to take his jammers off and reveal his skimpy-wimpy hot pink Speedo underneath. Yeah, I tripped on the treadmill and had to support myself with the railings for a few steps until I regained my composure. A pink Speedo I was definitely not expecting. I wasn’t complaining but I definitely wasn’t expecting it. So of course, there he goes with another round of pictures with even more suggestive poses this second time and I. AM. DROOLING. I mean, come on. I can only take so much before someone gets hurt.

Oh, by the way, these guys were completely straight. Behavior like this is perfectly normal in Japan and guys are dressed as prettily as girls are and if guys are possibly bisexual, girls get turned on like crazy. The idea of two guys getting it on is such a hot image for females that there are entire floors of comic book stores dedicated to man-on-man comic book action. And the customers are all girls, which is crazy in my opinion. But on the other hand, if two guys would ever decide o have a relationship, the world would probably end. Being gay is so hush-hush here. One explanation I received is as follows. Men are so important in this society and they completely overpower women; women being subservient and generally of a lower class. So, having two men get together is like seeing two Zeus’ fuck each other. It’s comparable to the Britney-Madonna kiss or Cher going on tour with Kelly Clarkson. It’s a meeting of the two highest forms of being which results in an orgasm of power and forbidden sin. However, these two supreme beings could never ever form a copasetic relationship because society has such strict views against homosexuality, even more so in areas outside Osaka. So, two guys are hot to watch but never meant to work. Fortunately, this is not the case in the rest of the world and we have Will & Grace to thank for that.

So as we have seen, the Japanese just love to be without their clothes, whether they’re wearing pink Speedos, frolicking around the locker room in dainty towels or hanging out in Spa World. Yes, you read that right. Spa World. My roommate Parris and I recently visited this wondrous location because August is discount month and we just had to do it at least once. Spa World is an 8-floor amusement park for the gluttonous in the middle of downtown Osaka. A place like this would never fly in America but the Japanese are just bonkers about it. Here we go.

Upon entering Spa World, you must deposit your shoes in a locker and go barefoot from here on. I hope you got your pedi done because you are on fucking display. Next, you must buy your ticket from the vending machine, which is not in English so it’s kind of a guessing game / do what the person in front of you does. It’s only 1,000 Yen for about 5 hours, a great price, so I’m not that put off just yet. I AM put off when I pass the beetle store. In the middle of this lush lobby with Corinthian pillars and plush carpeting is this ridiculous area where this old guy is selling scarab beetles. Yeah. Big, shiny, black and horned scarab beetles. WHAT THE FUCK! I’m trying to relax and go to a spa, not to steal the fucking lamp from Jafar. Who the hell sells scarab beetles at a spa?! Ugh! So Parris and I bypass the beetle booth and head toward the turnstile, yeah a spa turnstile, where this little girl in a smock takes our tickets and replaces them with green, electronic wristbands. From now on, if we need to buy anything in Spa world, we charge it to our wristband and pay at the end. Very smart idea, I thought.

They do this principally because you do not wear clothes in Spa World. I did not know this when I signed up for the trip. I thought I’d get a big robe with slippers and I could get a mud bath in a private room or maybe even a hot tub with four or five people. I was very wrong. Once, you’ve been wristbanded, you move upstairs to your respective floor, separated between men and women. That day, the men happened to be on the European floor and the women were on the Asian floor. I have no idea what the differences between the floors are but I was just happy to finally be doing something that wasn’t Asian. Parris and I get upstairs to the locker room where we have to get yet another locker for our clothes and we change into these little warm up suits that are comprised of blue, scrub-material Capri pants and a blue and white, striped barber’s shirt that fits me like a circus tent. So there we are, with our wristbands and ninja suits, ready to enter the wonder that is Spa World.

We walk about ten feet and realize that we have to get naked already. Not two seconds away from the locker room is a bin of used ninja outfits and beyond that is the entrance to the men’s spa where clothes are not allowed to be worn. So why the hell did they give us these outfits to wear if we can’t even wear them?! As usual, things would probably make more sense in this country if I could just read a fucking sign every once in a while. So we strip down to our tangerine face cloths that can either be used to dry your face, cool your head or worn as a sarong. I chose the sarong route and boy were we a sight to be seen. Not a week earlier, I had gone to the beach and gotten this horrible burn on my stomach and chest which was in this intricate rash shape, making it even worse to look at. So, just that morning I was beginning to peel and there I was at Spa World, flaky, red and naked. Not the best of situations. I mean, I get stared at to begin with just because I’m white. I don’t need extra reasons to be looked at. Plus, I had Parris with me who is, for all intents and purposes, a black man. So as soon as we entered the spa, people’s heads were spinning to check out Fire-crotch and Tripod. We were quite entertaining and this is the kind of attention that I was not enjoying. I couldn’t even reply with a biting quip or anything cool like that. I just had to smile and try act as if I wasn’t horribly bothered by all the nakedness.

Little boys were running around completely naked, jumping and splashing in the hot tubs next to men of all ages and no one was worried about this. Apparently, pedophilia is not a thing to be feared or talked about in Japan so people just let their children frolic freely about the spa. This shit would never work in America! There would be signs that kids of a certain age need to be accompanied by adults and certain rooms would be ‘kids only’ and others would be family rooms and all sorts of other rules. Plus, there would be “caution wet floor, cuidado piso mojado” signs all over the place. The whole building is covered in ceramic tile, slick from people’s soggy footprints. I mean, this place was a lawsuit waiting to happen. But hey, if it’s working for them, they should enjoy it. But when some old man slips and falls on top of some little boy’s no-no spot, don’t come complaining to me. I warned you.

There are all sorts of different rooms in Spa World. There is a salt room where you can step on piles of salt (WEIRD) and a fish room where you can sit in a glass-bottom hot tub surrounded by fish tanks on all sides. That was a little strange for me but I still enjoyed it. Another fun room is the Greek room with three different kinds of baths all in a black-lit room with starts projected on the domed ceiling. Each bath has a different temperature and a huge potato-sac tea bag floating in it filled with different herbs like mint, jasmine and lavender giving each bath a distinct color and aroma. Verrrrry relaxing was the Greek room. You can also go in the outdoor hot tub with a blazing hot waterfall on one side of it. This is not refreshing and I did not enjoy this room. Also, my sunburn was quite visible in this area and people were not ashamed to stare rudely and blatantly. It’s unfortunate that giving the finger has no significance in this country because I was flipping the bird at so many of them that day. My favorite room was probably the Paul Bunyan room which consisted of log cabin saunas and log bridges over ice cold baths. So, we sat inside this horribly stifling sauna for a good three minutes because that was all I could take and immediately ran into the startlingly cold bath. I stayed in that bath for a good twenty minutes. Partly because I was enjoying the cooling sensation and partly because the shrinkage was so severe that I just couldn’t be asked to walk around like that.

After that, Parris and I decided to call it quits. We had been naked long enough and my skin was becoming oniony. To this day, I am still peeling and still pink and it’s been about two weeks since going to the beach. So I’m going to end this blog here for now. I have go re-apply and check my Johnson & Johnson stocks anyway. Domo arigato gozaimasu!

8.23.2007

Working for the Man

So I’ve started my job teaching English at Nova. Now, it’s not exactly what you’d imagine. The two main things that I need for my job are a lanyard and a McDonald’s drive-thru head-set. Sounds like a fabulous outfit, huh? Just imagine when I pair those with my frumpily pleated work pants and a dress shirt so moist from the walk to work that even the “dry creaning” guy cringes upon seeing it delivered every week.

Basically, I’m teaching English to people all over Japan via this antiquated web cam system called Ginganet. Who named it, I do not know. But I sure hope the poor guy’s name wasn’t Ginga. That would really suck for him on the playground.

I feel the best way to describe my job is to take you through a day in the life of Biru. (That’s Japanese for Bill because the fucking riceheads can’t pronounce Ls to save their atomically-shortened lives.) I’m not bitter, I swear. Moving on, I start my workday at 5:30am on Sundays and Mondays. My alarm jars me awake and after about 11 hits of the snooze button, I’m out of bed by 6:00. I take a nice cold shower using no hot water whatsoever. This isn’t to punish me in some sort of Buddhist manner but just to cool me off as I have no window in my room and as the sun rises, it brings with it about 90 degrees of pure hate every morning. So by the time I roll off my futon mattress and onto the tatami mat floor, I’m already sweating. After my ice cold shower, I shave. This never happened back in Jersey. I’d estimate that I shaved every 4 or 5 days with only one electric moustache touch-up every 2 days. I was perfectly comfortable with that. A little stubble never hurt anyone and shaving is such a fucking chore. However, the company handbook clearly states that only fully-grown-in facial hair is acceptable and any stages before that are strictly prohibited. Translation: if you don’t already have a lumberjack beard, now is not the time to start growing one. Unfortunately, that means I have to shave every single fucking morning or risk being sent home for stubble. Nova is Japanese for Nazi.

After shaving, I think about completely shirking the ironing process but instead I haphazardly run the semi-warm iron over the closest pair of dress pants I can grab while I mentally plan out which of my 7 ties I’ll match with the outfit. Some shirts just do not have a tie that can support their color and I just don’t know what to do. The dress code states that a knotted tie is a must but I can’t just not wear three of my dress shirts. I didn’t bring them all the way across the planet to hang in my room all year. They’re just too hip to be omitted from the daily rotation. So, I think some tie shopping may be in order soon. Anyway, after I’m dressed, it’s 6:30 and I’m already running late. So I pack up my bag making sure I have the following items: apartment key, iPod, sunglasses (tigers optional), cigarettes (for the much needed smoke breaks), money, train pass, lanyard, head-set and a train book. The train book is one of the most important items in my artillery as it lets me immerse myself in a comfortable world of fiction during the 20-minute train ride to work and ignore all of the “look, it’s a white man” stares I get. However, before the train is the daily stop at the one of fifteen (no exaggeration) vending machines on the way during my 10-minute walk to the station. Seriously, there is at least one vending machine at least every 100 meters and that’s downplaying it. Usually, they’re grouped in 2s or 3s with one being for coffee and green tea, one for Gatorade-like sport drinks and soda and the third for cigarettes. The Japanese are an extremely automated society. So I grab my steel, not aluminum, can of iced coffee made by Suntory Boss. Suntory Boss: Suntory is the boss of everyone since 1992. No lie, that’s the company’s motto. Cocky, right? I love it. So I got my coffee and I’m on the train and everything’s goin’ fine as long as I catch the early train. If not, I’ll be extra sweaty for my arrival at the office. I exit the train, push my way through the platform up to the main station. Now, I work at the Namba Station which is comparable to the 42nd Street Station in NYC. It’s fucking crowded. In the station, not even above ground, is an entire mall called the Namba Walk. I have to walk half the length of the mall (ten minutes) underground in order to reach my building which is adjacent to the Osaka City Air Terminal. I don’t know why it’s named that, there is a train station there. There is no helipad or runway there. Like I’ve said before. Japan is ridiculous. Maybe they sell air somewhere there, but I doubt it.

Anyway, I walk through the mall, past the art gallery, which consists of 25 paintings on the wall of the mall, and into my building. Once in the elevator, it’s a race to see who can put their lanyard on the fastest. On the company lanyard is my ID card that grants me entrance to every single door in the company. I mean every single door. You can’t get anywhere without this ID card. You need it to get to the cubicle. You need it to get into the smoking room. You need it to fucking wipe your ass. But that’s really only if you run out of TP. Just check before you sit down and you won’t have to bother with the ID card. The first employee to get their lanyard on shoves to the front of the elevator car and waits earnestly for the doors to open up to the 15th floor where the time cards are located. To get into the time card room, you have to swipe your card and for some reason, people treat it like an honor to be the one to swipe so there’s this little race to the door, but no one really acknowledges it. It’s just one of those things everyone does but never mentions. Anyway, if you win the race, you really actually lose because then you wind up having to hold the door for everyone in back of you and that just sucks, especially if you’re late. So I take my time. After I clock in, I have to check one of 22 television screens for my booth assignment for the day. The screens advise me of my booth number, the level of the student I’ll be teaching and what floor I’m on. I usually have to head up to the 16th floor to teach and once I find my cubicle, I’m ready to go. This is at 7:30am.

Exactly on the half hour, the bell rings, which signifies the beginning of the 40-minute lesson. The bell is the classic Bing Bong Bing Bong…Bong Bong Bing Bong. Then it repeats. Apparently, this tune is used all over the country as the signal for anything to begin whether it be a class, a workday, a meeting, etc. Even the trains use a little Mr. Belding xylophone system whenever they make an announcement over the loudspeaker. It’s a little childish but whatever they need not to go crazy, I’ll let them have it.

Side note: Japanese people go crazy almost every day. It is not uncommon at all to be late to work because of a “jumper.” At least once a month, according to multiple sources, some ‘salaryman’ (pronounced ‘sarariman’ and it means anyone who works in an office) takes it upon himself to commit suicide because he’s either overworked or just lonely. So, he files off his fingerprints, pulls out his teeth and jumps in front of the subway train of his choice, usually during the morning rush. They maim themselves so badly beforehand in order to die anonymously to save their family from public shame but seriously, if you stop coming to work, someone’s gonna notice and call your house. So I think it’s just for dramatic effect. If the train actually kills the sarariman, the removal team is called to clean it up and the whole thing is over in usually under a half hour. Then, upon arrival at your destination station, there are several attendants standing at the doors with little tickets that say there was a jumper, which caused a train delay. This ticket must be given to your boss so you don’t get in trouble at work. I’m not kidding. They have cards for this. Could you just imagine how much creative freedom Hallmark employees must have in this country?
Sorry your dad committed suicide on the train tracks but I’m even more sorry I was late to work! Haha! Just kidding. But seriously, my condolences. Love, Louis.

Back to the main story. Ok, so once the bell has rung, I have only ten minutes before the next lesson period begins. In that ten minutes, I’m supposed to socialize, have a smoke, grab another iced coffee from the break room and plan the next lesson, all in ten minutes. Obviously, I’m a very new employee because all I’ve ever managed to do in those in-between moments is plan my next lesson and possibly read a bit from whatever train book I brought with me that day, but I’m slowly getting better. Really, I am though. Just the other day, I almost made it all the way to the break room and had about two coins into the coffee machine when the bells rang. And of course, we’re not allowed to drink at our cubicles for fear of mussing up the ancient keyboard apparatuses. So I sullenly trudged back to my desk, coffee-less and therefore, energy-less, to plan my next lesson.

When planning lessons, you have to look at each student’s past lessons and see which ones they’ve taken and which one’s they’ve passed/failed in order to choose one that hasn’t been done yet or one that hasn’t been done in at least three months. There are about 50 different lessons per student level, of which there are 7, which gives us a pool of 350 lessons to choose from. The good thing about this is that since we teach 7 to 8 lessons a day, we repeat lessons like it’s our job, which it is. So, once you’ve taught one lesson, you know where you can rest during it, what might be hard for the students and what stupid little jokes you can make to break the ice. It’s very customer service-oriented, to tell the truth. So now that you’ve finally settled on something appropriate for the jappies, you have the remaining moments to look it over and practice the lesson in your head, if it’s new, and then you’re off.

The bell has rung and now you’re stuck with 3, at most, jappies for the next forty minutes during which you’re forced to converse with them, correct their grammar and basically schmooze them into falling in love with the English language enough to buy another lesson period. Students range from junior high schoolers to working professionals ( lots of people in the medical field ), to elderly men and women so bored with their lives that they’ve decided to conquer a foreign language. So far, my least successful student group has been older males who are around 30 and up. I know that must be quite a shock given my past dating history but let’s keep in mind that I’m not dating my students, but teaching them. With that said, my favorite students have turned out to be the housewives of all ages. These women are so much fucking fun. When I have three of them together in a class, I’m a fucking Don Juan and these women are giggling up a storm and learning at the same time, I really love it. They generally have loads of time on their hands and are prohibited to work by their husbands so once they’re done cleaning and/or cooking for the day, they’re completely free and need something to fill the gaping holes in their schedules. So, that renders them very much open and willing to learn as much as they possibly can and their individual progress is absolutely astonishing. I mean, this one lady Hidemi has only been studying English for a year and a half and she said to me yesterday, “My husband is a silly man. He no let me touch the computah because since I don’t know how to work computah good, that I might make computah sick. How can computah get sick? He say something about a weerus (virus) but I don’t berieve him. Computahs don’t get sick. They don’t take medecine.” Frankly, I’ll be ecstatic when I can get that ridiculous point across to someone in Japanese.

So that’s the gist of the lesson. Lots of silly phrases that need correcting and a lot of Japanese egos that need coddling. Once I get through eight of them, I can happily clock my ass out of there and hit the streets. Unfortunately, the streets can only be hit every so often due to the subway closure time of 11:45. Who the fuck is ready to go home at 11:45? This curfew is ridiculous. So you have three options: 1. Get your ass home at 11:45 and save some money and lose some friends. 2. Go home whenever you like by paying $30 for a taxi who won’t even bring you directly to your house because there are no fucking addresses so you’ll still have to walk from a subway station or local landmark. 3. Stay out until the subway re-opens at 5:00. Oddly enough, option 3 has been the most popular one so far, even considering our early work schedules. But let’s think about this. The job doesn’t really require that much effort. You’re sitting at a computer and as long as you look clean, no one can tell you smell like a vagabond. Also, you’re already in your work clothes from the night before so there’s no need to change because you still look semi-professional despite the cigarette burns on your collar and the sake stains on your tie. The only thing that really ever needs to be taken care of is your sweaty-ass face. Spend a night out in Osaka and I dare you not to sweat as profusely as a sorority girl in a clinic. I guarantee you; you will be moist. But not to worry, that’s nothing a few wipes of a deodorized wet-nap won’t ameliorate. So that’s the latest in the life of Biru. Do stay tuned as I hope to move to a new apartment next month, which should definitely be providing me with some new material. My roommates will be a red-neck hippie Canadian from New Brunswick and a black valley boy gay from San Diego. And people say the Real World was stereotypical…